Ocean Isle Beach 2019, the race that changed my mind

TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN A WOOD AND I TOOK THE ONE LESS TRAVELED…

(Robert Frost)

The temperature was a very cool 64 degrees, and I felt my body begin to shake. Not from the fact that I was cold, but because this was my first official race and I was experiencing pre-race jitters. The nerves I was desperately fighting for control of my bowels were not steadied by the constant reminder, “30 mins until the start of the Half-Marathon”. I did a few quick strides to loosen up my hip flexors, they had been hurting me the day before as I stood in front of my 9th Grade Biology class, fumbling over words that I knew. Trying to get knowledge poured from my brain into the eager sponges that were my pupils. Every one of them knew I was nervous. They saw it on my face. My first race.

My teen boys told me they really understood, it was the same feeling they had when they lined up for the first game of the season. Every one of them promised to pray for me and “Ms. Jenny”, and wished us the best of luck. How did I, a combat hardened US Marine, become so soft that I let the thought of a race shake me in front of a group of teenagers as I tried to talk to them about the endocrine system.

Jenny has done this before. I remember seeing her decked out in her cute pink tutu, sporting the bib for the “Run Like A Diva, Half-Marathon” just a few months back. But this was my first official long distance race. The night before, we stayed in a cheap motel in Little River, South Carolina, each of us stretching out on our own queen sized bed. Our dinner was not what we had originally planned, the amount of water we drank was not according to plan. And the splitting headache that I had, was DEFINITELY not according to plan. In fact, I broke my paleo diet because I thought maybe I just needed caffeine. I all but chugged that Vanilla Orange Coke (not a bad flavor combination, actually), and eyed the “Rockstar Sugar-Free Punched” energy drink, that has become my absolute favorite drink in the last few weeks. But I knew that I would not get any sleep if I did that, so I closed my eyes and nodded off to the sounds of some tv show that Jenny found half-interesting.

When I awoke, my headache was still there, it was midnight, and I didn’t really have to be doing anything for another 5 hours. So I did what any sensible person would do…I tiptoed past my sleeping wife, careful not to wake the grumpy beast that she would become if I made too much of a sound, and made my way to the bathroom. Afterwards, I climbed back into my bed and lay there, hoping and praying for more sleep, but thinking about or race plan.

When our alarms blared at 5AM, we both got up, got dressed and continued to break our plan for the morning routine. Jenny had planned on eating an Egg Bite from Starbucks, I had planned on fasting…but what she couldn’t finish, I quickly consumed and while the delicious protein and fat bomb scalded the room of my mouth (the microwave was the only thing that really worked in our room) I followed it up with some of that Rockstar. Hoping that my headache would just give up and decide to mess with the noisy rednecks that slept outside in a camper parked right outside our room.

We loaded our stuff into the car, and began the 20 minute drive to Ocean Isle Beach. Runners were encouraged to get there before 6AM, and we crossed the massive bridge by 5:45. We had made it and were guaranteed a decent parking spot. We signed into the race coordinators, ensured our bibs were put on appropriately, and stood around waiting for “go time”.

The National Anthem was sung beautifully, while everyone glanced around for a flag to turn our attention to, but since there was not one present we resigned to placing our hands over our heart and facing the direction of the music (just like good little Marines are supposed to do). Upon conclusion of “…And the home, of the, BRAAAAAAAAAAAVE!” (sung with a slight crack in her voice) we were told to begin lining up by our pace times. Jenny and I took our place behind the 2:45 marker. Knowing that we were just slightly faster than 3 hours, but not ready to tackle the 2:30 times.

And before I knew it, my nerves had fled my body because we were moving. My Fitbit Surge started tracking my heart rate and I knew that I would be fighting to maintain a 140/bpm pace, like I had been training to do. My breathing was slow and steady but my head was still racing with fear that my “bad” ankle would give out and I would be DNF’d on my first attempt at an official race. I knew I wasn’t there to win, but I did want to try my best.

We turned right and immediately came to the big beast that Jenny and I dreaded. The horror that had been in the back of our mind the entire training cycle. The bridge to Ocean Isle Beach. To me, this did not seem like a normal bridge. I envisioned this mass of concrete and steel as the dragon or lava monster that the Marine’s slayed in the commercials. The elevation was something that neither of us had a solid plan to even prepare for. We live in an area that was mostly flat ground, the hills did not even come close to the elevation that we had to contend with here. Looking back on it, it wasn’t as bad as we thought. In fact, I could have easily taken that bridge at a decent pace, but at the time, we were unsure of how the rest of the course would treat us, so we slowed our pace and made it over at a cautious pace.

As we hit mile 1, we were passed going the other way by the leader, on his way to mile 3. He was really moving. His time ended up being 1:19:34. He was running at a pace of 6:34/mile, and it makes me sick to think that there are people in this world that can do that…guess age really plays hell on my ability to run fast. Jenny and I were starting to struggle. The time we clocked was 11:22/mile. We were going much faster than we had originally planned on. By the time we reached mile 2, we were at 11:08/mile. Jenny looked at me and we both started to panic, we had already felt the beginning of burnout. While my legs were feeling great, and I wasn’t really gasping for air, I knew that we were going to hit a wall and that it was going to hurt if we didn’t correct our plan.

Mile 3, 4, and 5 came and went. Through some beautiful housing areas (I am a sucker for sea-side towns) and then back across the bridge, which didn’t seem to be so daunting for the second time. The folks that lived in Ocean Isle Beach are super friendly, and came out in droves to cheer us on and wish us well. The volunteers at the water stops were helpful, and “Johnny on the Spot” when it came to water or gatorade. But Mile 6 is especially interesting. This is where Mother Nature decided to start playing with us. The heat and humidity did a slight jump. We were slowing our pace and averaged about 11:45/mile at this point, as we trucked on. Each of us noting that the mile markers were not really in line with our GPS. When we hit 7, I saw my first glimpse of humor. Someone had put up a “Free Beer” sign and set up a table to give a light beer to the runners that came by. I had to laugh because the worst thing I could think of was to drink a beer while trying to survive a long distance race.

We rounded the bend and the island’s signature water tower, and started making our way back toward the center of the commercial area. At Mile 8, the wheels started to come off. We were at 11:45/mile average still, but Jenny was feeling the hurt. I had made a very important discovery at this point, my watch had been charged in a regular power outlet instead of a computer like it is supposed to. That causes it to misbehave. Badly. I will now admit that I guess my heart rate was about 10 beats per minute above what it should have been. Meaning that we were really moving so much faster and pushing harder than we had ever pushed. At mile 10 we were walking almost as much as we were running. The water stops could not come fast enough and I really started to regret my decision to run without music. What started as a way to listen to my body and enjoy spending time with other people and being friendly had turned into a fight for survival.

By Mile 11, Jenny would take breaks to cry just a little, and I did my best to encourage her to keep going, even though I wanted to die inside myself. The spectators had started to thin out and make their way to the finish line, so that they could watch the awards ceremony. We could hear their cheers. We made it to mile 12, where there was supposed to be a popcicle stand, but I have to say that I was royally disappointed when I looked and no one was handing out those frosty sugary treats. I would like to say that this is the part where we dug deep and finished with a magical slow motion finish. “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background, but that would be an utter lie. We shuffled across the finish line, side by side. I was never more proud of my beautiful wife than I was in this moment. She had just completed her second half-marathon, pushing her body, which has gone through so much to reach her goal weight and the health issues that she had to work through to get to where she was.

Thus ends our adventure to the beautiful sea-side town of Ocean Isle Beach. The “after-party” wasn’t much to see, there were a few drunk people there, and some decent BBQ, but in the end it wasn’t much to look at and we needed to head back because I had to work that evening. But since 2nd and Charles was having a “costume contest”, I was happy to get home, shower quickly, put on a clean pair of running shorts and my “race t-shirt” and my medal. I showed up dressed as a guy that just finished running a race. I even had my race bib still pinned to me.

Now onto more aggressive plans.  I have determined that it is more important to celebrate finish line, rather than the finish times.  It is more important for us to celebrate the freedom that we as humans have when we are allowed to run.  It is what can bring us together, it is what will reconnect us with God.

Now, get out there, start moving your body.  Log in a mile or two or ten!  Just go and do.  So until the next time I have words to share and thoughts to express.

Meeting Rick Muhr

CODDIWOMPLE: (v.) to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

This picture really is one of my favorites, while I don’t look good in it, I am standing with my family and one of the greatest dudes I have ever met in my life. Rick Muhr is a world class running coach, world record setting motorcycle endurance athlete, and has set multiple records for his marathon and ultramarathon races. He is an unmatched coach and after sitting in his class, I can say that I have really seen improvements on my running. He discussed form, nutrition, cadence, and the MAF method of running.

Jenny and I must have taken four pages of notes about the different things that assist our bodies in being in perfect form for the conduct of running. Most of the things that he talked about how I had covered in my last post, but it wasn’t until I got personal critiques from him that I really started to put it all together and focus. It encouraged me to no end to hear that he is a believer in the Low Carb lifestyle, as well as a supporter of barefoot running. Which I am glad to say, is within my reach again. My leg seems to have finally healed enough that I am able to work on using it for barefoot style running. But what I really learned from him was that it is ok to take walk breaks. Funny that I already knew that, but was not aware that doing so will help with keeping my heart rate down and will help me build up my endurance in a safe and effective method.

This was one of the best seminars that I have ever had the pleasure of participating in, and I feel that it has done so much to extend my running life. I am getting along in age, but I know that by learning to run in the proper form, and by keeping my heart rate down, I will be running long distances well into my advanced age. And I have really started training for my first ultra marathon. While I plan on running the Southern Tour Ultra in January, I have started working on a smaller goal on the path to that, I will be running the Ocean Isle Beach half-marathon in October.

Our training has been interesting of late. It was July and the heat index was climbing up into the 100’s. This means that we were taking walk breaks to ensure that we were carrying enough water and energy blocks (electrolytes) for us to complete our runs. Jenny has finally completed her last 10k for the virtual race she was working on, and is now the proud owner of the Infinity Gauntlet medal, from Medal Mad. And of course as I got closer to retirement and transition from the Marine Corps (July 19th), I was leaning more and more on running to keep my head clear, or risk having dark thoughts and panic take over my brain. Depression among service members that are leaving service is a very real and dangerous thing, I am blessed to have found my love of running again, and would like to work with others to help them find their passions, to avoid the unfortunate and horrible result that affects our community. I am of course speaking about the 22 service members a day that take their own life. And because this issue is near and dear to my heart, I am planning to run across the state of North Carolina, from Jacksonville to Knoxville, Tennessee. I will be doing this to raise awareness of the issue (as if we aren’t already aware of it because of a push-up challenge and what not), but I will be doing it to accept donations to an organization that I hold very close, Team Rubicon. While they are a disaster relief organization, they are formed by veterans and hold the veteran community in high regards. They have the mission of helping keep vets close to each other so that we can avoid the ills that happen when we become too internal.

RECAP:  I retired from the Corps as of July 19th, and Jenny and I left immediately with the boys to go see my parents in Arkansas, and then she and I went to California for LuLaRoe convention.  Such a magical time, I learned a lot from it and have even started working a little more diligently on helping her with her business. (I set up her shopping website shop-thepages.com) and there are so many NEW styles that are coming out, and they are all AMAZING!  To be honest, my wife looks HOT in the Michelle, the Valentina, and the new Mitzi!

I am currently unemployed, but hope to be going to school full time to get my Master’s degree in Social Work.  I really want to be licensed to help military families as a Military Family Life Counselor.  And of course, someday I would like to be a professional running coach in my spare time.

I have been reading a lot lately, and I cannot stress enough how important it has been for me to just be able to sit down and let my mind immerse itself in the enjoyment of just reading what other people have done in the world of running. One of the best so far has been the book, “Ultramarathon Man” by Dean Karnazes. I feel his pain when it applies to his emotional status at times and only being soothed by the long runs. Dean has continued to fuel my passion to be good at running, not that I want to win, but that I want to be good at the technique of running so that I can run for the rest of my life. Another I read recently was Eat & Run. I have to give it to Scott Jurek, he is a phenomenal athlete, and I respect his speed and dedication to the art of running long distance. A true legend in the sport, but I found him a little preachy when it came to veganism. But maybe that’s just me, I am annoyed by vegans. Almost as much as they are annoyed by Carnivore/Keto/Paleo guys.

And I am very interested in a book that I have been working on called “Run for Your Life”, by Mark Cucuzzella. I cannot stress enough how much this book is changing my life and how it is making me a more efficient runner. If you only read one book on running this year, please let it be this book. And if you have already read it, I encourage you to re-read it. There is so much good information that I often catch myself going back and reading the chapter again as soon as I am done with the last word of that chapter.

But here it is, September, and I have not written anything since before I retired. I took a one month break from running and eating clean, and put on 30 pounds. Sounds like I am a fat-ass? Yep. But already after one week of going back to Keto/Paleo, my pants are starting to fit better, I have the desire to run again, and my head is so much clearer. I cannot stress enough how important diet is to everything in your life. Even if the research (being released in about a year) shows that Keto/Carnivore/Paleo lifestyle eating is BS, I will still stick with it because I like the way it makes my head feel. I love having the clearer thought process. I don’t wake up in a mental fog, like I have for the last decade or so. The last time I felt this good, was the late 90’s and everyone was on the “Protein Power” plan. Which by the way is another GREAT book, written by a doctor from Arkansas.

Jenny and I have signed up for the Ocean Isle Beach Half-Marathon in October and with less than 8 weeks remaining, we are in full training mode. We have also convinced ourselves to sign the whole family up for a Zombie Run 5k that night, so she and I will be driving back that afternoon, getting into the house and grabbing the boys to go run 3.1 more miles! We have admitted that this is one of the most insane and asinine things that we have ever attempted before in our lives…aside from her decision to marry me, because let’s face it, I am not the easiest person to deal with on a daily basis.

So now that we are basically caught up with the Page clan, and our semi-wacky adventures, I will try to be a bit more regular in our posting.  I do enjoy blogging and I am sure that Jenny is absolutely ready to read more about what I am going to say about her.  And I am sure that you are all ready to figure out what old people do when we start running and how we go about training.  And I promise that I will make our training plan public, once we figure out what the hell we are doing.  Like I said, 8 weeks to go and we have a skeleton plan and just a desire to punish ourselves for getting out of shape.

Another thing that I will start doing is gear reviews for runners.  I am currently thinking about just reviewing the stuff that I use currently and will start branching out and looking for gear and nutrition sources (pre, Post, and during race).  We do have to admit that we love our Brooks running shoes, but I am slowly making the transition to barefoot running, moving to running sandals or my current favorite Vibram Five Fingers.

Well, after all this rambling, I am going to end this and spare you from your misery.  But I promise to have a more structured format and excellent content from here on out.

Thanks for hanging out.

-The Page’s

Primal Running

img_2143Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.

-Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

 

How do you run? Seems like such an awkward question, doesn’t it? You just put one foot in front of the other, and repeat at a rapid pace until you reach the goal that you set up for yourself. But I mean, really…HOW DO YOU RUN? The secret to being a GOOD runner is in your form. I don’t mean good runner in that you place in every race you enter, that’s the mental aspect. This post is about the physical side. So many people tell me that they would enjoy running more if they didn’t have knees that hurt, or backs that hurt, or ankles…well, you get the point. I tell them that I can help them, but that they need to remember that I am just a guy that has read a book and experimented on himself. I have discovered the joys of running by paying attention to unconventional wisdom. So many times in our lives, we listen to what the mainstream says, and refuse to challenge the advice of those that we assume are our “betters”. The next few weeks, I will be presenting my challenges to the way that we are being told to do things. I will ask questions and answer them using unorthodox methods that work. Choosing to follow my advice is up to you, and I will not be held responsible for anything that happens, however I can only encourage you to make changes in your own life. There is no cookie cutter answers to anything, you have to have the balls to take charge of yourself and make the appropriate changes. The revolution begins now! (Please be sure that you do consult a doctor before doing anything, however I do encourage you to do research into your own health)

Let me stop right here and say this for the people in the back of the room…I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL RUNNING COACH! I am just a guy that loves to read and experiment on himself. I have given advice to my wife, my youngest son, and a teenager that was in my wife’s PE class (when she was a PE teacher). So please let me solicit my unprofessional opinion to you. Take off your shoes. Your body wants to feel connected to the ground underneath you. It yearns to feel the solid earth that it was meant to walk upon. Somewhere in the last 50 years, we have royally screwed up. We let Nike and Reebok tell us that what makes us better and safer runners is the thicker soles on our shoes. Softer impacts, therefore less injuries. Yet, every year doctors offices are filled with “runners” that buy the latest in padded shoes and yet still have serious knee and back and ankle issues. YES, I advocate running barefoot. At least for a little bit. You see, I wear Brooks Launch shoes, they have cushion, but I also have worked for years to build good form. And that form is found by taking off your shoes.

Instead of running heel to toe, and lengthening out your stride, thus resulting in hard impact as well as an increased friction with the ground and slower running speed, I want you to try these simple exercises.

BUNNY HOPS

Stand with your feet naturally apart. Lean forward at the ankles, not the hips. When you feel gravity pulling you forward, hop and land on just behind the balls of your feet. Feel that midfoot strike? That is where you need to be when you run. Perform this for about 3 sets 5-10 hops on each set.

 

WALL-PULLS

Stand 6 inches away from a wall. Raise one foot towards your butt, without letting your foot touch the wall, this requires you to use your hamstring to do it. Now set it back down, along the same path. Keep your ankle along your stationary leg. Repeat this 20 times on each leg. This is the proper way that your legs should move while running. When combined with the bunny hops above, you will find that this is a natural path and form. Don’t believe me? Watch a toddler run. They lean forward and stay on the balls of their feet.

It isn’t about the length of your stride, but about the amount of “turn-over” that happens. If you watch the fastest runners, you will see what looks like the old Road-Runner cartoons. Since advising my wife to run with this form, she has found that her knees do not hurt her near as much, and my youngest son has found that his back doesn’t hurt when he runs. Everyone is wearing shoes, but we run as if we are not. Now here is the reason that I told you to take off your shoes…because when you run improperly while barefoot, you will know…your body will give you instant feedback. In other words, your foot will hurt a lot, because you will bang your heels on the ground.

Make sure that as you run you swing your arms and keep your shoulders loose. You should not be wearing your shoulders as earrings, and your hands should be as if you are holding a writing instrument. This will minimize the excess amount of spent energy that you are using. Your eyes should be held slightly in front of you, about 20 feet or so in front, unless you are on terrain that requires you to be cautious of footing, then you can look down. But doing this keeps your neck pinched and makes breathing a little harder. When you come to a hill, try to keep your eyes straight ahead of you, until you see the top out of the corner of your vision, then you can look at the top. This keeps from mind-fucking you. And trust me, I have done it too myself way too many times. Remember that it is okay to walk, only if you really need to, otherwise, it becomes a mental fight, and you should work hard to push through this. As you repeat this process, you will find that your stamina builds up and you will find yourself doing things that your yesterday self would find impossible.

Exercises that you should probably do after a long run? Squats! Air Squats are some of the best exercises for distance runners, as it mimics the movements of natural running, bringing your heels to your butt while flexing your hamstrings. Doing sets of squats, going down as far as you can, as quickly as possible can also help develop strength in the legs that will go towards developing the endurance that you are looking for. Adding weight, eventually, would not be a bad thing either…as it will develop stronger muscles and a firmer gluteus maximus.

Another great exercise is the explosive power of the Squat Jump. These can either be in the form of just jumping straight up and tucking your knees into your chest or landing on a box in a squat and then standing up fully before stepping off the box to reset and do it again. Plyometrics can do so much to make sure that your legs and core are strong. It also goes a long way into building a runner’s VO2 Max.

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Page Family Update

So, Jenny and I were planning on signing up for and racing in the Run Ocean Isle Beach Half-Marathon 2019! This race takes place October 26, 2019 in Wilmington, NC. If you are going to be there, please say “Howdy”! This will be Jenny’s second official Half and my first. And already our minds are running crazy with training plans and getting our minds ready to slog through 13.1 miles of North Carolina autumn weather. Which if you have never been here, then you don’t know that our weather is about as temperamental as a toddler who can’t decide what he wants to eat for dinner.

Also, Jenny found a series of virtual races that she went crazy for, it is the Infinity Gauntlet race from MedalMad.com. She even convinced me to let the boys sign up for the Avenger’s race series. While I like the idea of virtual races, I think that I personally will stop running them, even though I am halfway through the last one I signed up for. I will get my medal from Yes.fit and then I am done signing up for those that can be broken up into multiple races. Nothing wrong with those that want to keep them going, my family is nuts over virtual races. I really encourage my kids to keep finding them and signing up for them, it keeps them engaged in racing and shows them that hard work can pay off. Plus they go to help charity reasons.

So I know this post was a long time coming, and I am trying to make posting a more regular event. But this particular post was written and rewritten multiple times. I wanted to make sure that those of you who read our blog are getting the best information possible. And while I will always tell you that I am not a professional, I will not give some half-assed advice.

Training continues

Well, welcome back folks! Glad that you guys have decided to continue to read the stories from our crazy life. We do our best to entertain, excite, motivate, and enthrall you with the goofy stuff that happens in our lives.

Jenny has taken a few days off of training after her race and already started planning her next goal, another half-marathon in Wilmington, NC. I think that I am going to join her on this one, just to get more experience under my belt. But instead of just doing the high milage training plan, I am going to be incorporating a bunch of Crossfit. Basically, I am rereading the book “Unbreakable Runner” and doing that. So stand by for a bunch of sore muscles, talk about swinging kettlebells, and a good amount of running.

One of the main things that I am using for my training is FitDecks, a deck of exercise cards developed by a Navy SeAL to randomize exercises. I have multiple decks and plan to mix and match them as necessary to create a full workout. But I also intend to get back on the Crossfit WOD’s. I really miss being an animal and doing those like I used to, when I was about a decade younger. Just maybe without all the Oly lifts, I did enjoy doing them however they became the only thing that I wanted to do and I got REAL BIG.

The importance of cross training cannot be stated enough, if all an athlete is doing is practicing for their sport, then they are going to find their abilities severely lacking. This is the reason that basketball, baseball, and football players spend hours and hours in the gym. Working on building their bodies to be able to cope with anything they find on the field, these athletes conduct Crossfit/HITT style workouts to whip their muscles into quick reaction forces of nature.

Runners are no different. If doing the high mileage thing is how you envision your training plan, then perhaps you should reach out and find a new way of seeing things. Repetitive training will break down the body and wear out the joints, with minimal gain. Lifting weights on the contrary does not make you slow and bulky (despite what I just said about the Oly lifts, there was more to that than I had time to explain). Swinging a kettlebell has actually been shown to better the form of runners, and can help muscles grow stronger and provide quicker recovery times. The best article I have read on it can be found here. This isn’t the only article written on this, just google “How can Kettlebells help runners”, and prepare to spend a few hours reading articles about endurance runners using these awesome Russian torture devices to get better at racing.

This week has also yielded a new set of friends for me and hopefully Jennifer, we have found out about the “Asphalt Junkies of Jacksonville, NC”. A local running group that is comprised of a lot of veterans and everyone loves to run and get together and talk about running. I am absolutely all about this, in fact, I think I will be getting together with a few of them to go for a very early morning run this week coming up. I have always wanted to get involved in a local club, ever since I was kicked out of the virtual club that I was a member of. I was kicked out over the fact that I don’t really back down from confrontation and there were a lot of members that sat in political contrast to me, and they didn’t like hearing a different opinion.

I also learned about a great race that takes place in this area. And there is 8 months before it starts…I have already started working on training plans to take me the 8 months to get ready to run my very first ultra marathon. The Southern Tour Ultra, I will be taking the “easier” race and doing the 50K. This does not mean that I won’t be doing half-marathons, but I will be using them for training runs, and the chance to get to work with my wife. As you can tell, we have different goals. I am an all or nothing kind of guy. I want to go do the hard stuff. I want to push my body and mind to the very limits. I am very interested to see how long it will take me to break myself and find the very limits of myself.

And yes, I am keeping myself to a keto lifestyle. I am in love with the high-fat/low carb programs. It makes me feel good to be fueled daily by eggs and bacon, butter, pork chops, olives, coconut oil, and good old, grassfed, delicious beef! Less than 30 grams of carbohydrates a day, a moderate amount of protein, and a large amount of fat. One of my favorite ways to get fat is through a scrambled egg with cheese, sour cream, avocado, more cheese, and bacon. Cook the egg with coconut oil to increase the amount of healthy fats that are in it, and BAM!

I know that this week’s was a hodge podge of rambling mix and match subjects, but this was just a little look into the training thoughts that I have, as I continue to stumble through my journey to become an ultra-runner.

Y’all take care and I hope you have a great week of running.

Love your spouses and kids, be kind to each other.

Myrtle Beach Bums

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WOW!  To say that the Page family has had an adventure, is a serious understatement!  Since I wrote that last post, we have been busy with all kinds of cool shit! I mean seriously!  I don’t even know where to begin.

Jenny’s race was this weekend, May 5th (May the Fourth be with you/Revenge of the Fifth), and we loaded up the family vehicle and headed down from Jacksonville, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC.  It isn’t that long of a drive and it made me seriously question why we have not been down there more often…oh yeah, money. That’s the reason, Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination, and everything but gas costs a lot.

Anyways, we arrived in Myrtle Beach, and went straight for the Sports Center. There we walked in on an amazing expo of health, fitness, and there were runners everywhere!!!  Jenny immediately went to get her race packet, bag, tutu, and race number. The boys and I walked around the expo and looked at a lot of the different booths, sorted through some of the piles of “Hippie Runner” headbands, and chatted with folks about upcoming races.  

I was really just happy to be in a group of people with a passion for my favorite sport, and it showed with the fact that I totally forgot about how hungry I was.  I talked to a massage therapist (Jenny got a free assessment, I got to stare at her butt while some dude worked a kink out of her neck) and learned a lot about the different stretches that I SHOULD be doing (but probably will forget and won’t do them anyways).  I also signed us up in a drawing to win a free entry into the upcoming Wilmington half-marathon, and of course “spoiled” Jenny with a crap ton of those headbands.

While the family was walking back to the car from the expo, I could tell that Jenny’s nerves were starting to get to her, and it didn’t help any that I was an idiot and started trying to wean myself off of caffeine, so I was developing a colossal headache (cue me being a slight douche).  But there was no time for me to pity myself, this was Jenny’s weekend and I wasn’t about to be the fly in the ointment. So off to TJ Maxx we go, which is one of Jenny’s favorite stores, to look for “stuff”, she never knows what she wants from there, we just always go and find cool things.  I was hoping that this would relax her, and it seemed to, especially since she let me get a bag of dark chocolate espresso beans, which started taking the edge off my headache.

It was finally time to check into our hotel, Jenny and I are HUGE fans of La Quinta (if a LQ exec ever reads this, SPONSORSHIP (cough cough)).  We checked in, moved our bags up to the room, and immediately the issues started. The door felt a little stuck, nothing that a good kick didn’t fix but annoying to say the least.  Then we discovered that the smoke detector was doing its “Low battery” chirp, which is the same shit our’s does at home, and a phone call to the front desk had the promise that it would be fixed by the time we got back from going to the Outlet mall.

After making sure that the Page family had all their important belongings secured, we headed out on the town, in search of fun and adventure.  Okay, we were headed to the Tanger Outlet mall, a Starbucks, and then to grab dinner. I am always impressed at the size of Outlet malls and the extreme discounts that you can find there.  Jenny was blown away at the Coach outlet, and while in a toy store, I found the item that I have been seeking for a very long time. There is only one episode of Rick and Morty that makes me laugh…the episode with “Mr. MeeSeeeks”.  Jenny was searching through a wall of POP figures in this store and BINGO! Finally, after several months of looking in every toy store  and comic book shop I could find, I have my Mr. MeeSeeeks! This is one of the most epic toys that I have ever collected, and it is awesome that my wife is the one that feeds my addiction to them.

We spent about an hour there, and after not finding much that made Jenny go “OHHH” and “AHHH”, we left and I took her to dinner, which was Italian.  Carrabba’s is one of those restaurants that never fails to disappoint. I knew that since my wife is not keto, that she would need the carbohydrates that would fuel her run, so we ordered the Fettuccine with seafood.  What can I say, I am a sucker for cream sauce and seafood, so dinner was very much worth every penny we paid. After that, we made our way back to the hotel, and spent the night, tossing and turning due to a combination of nerves and a very uncomfortable bed.

Finally, around 5AM, the alarm goes off and we set about doing things that got us ready, Jenny put on her running clothes and ate her ham and cheese croissant from Starbucks while drinking her iced coffee, this has been her tradition before every long run during her training cycle.  The boys and I had breakfast bowls and I slammed sugar free energy drinks like they were my life blood.  At 6AM we jumped back in the car and proceeded to the parking area to get on shuttles that take us down to the beach area so Jenny could line up for her 7:10AM start time.

 


I can’t really say much for her, but my nerves were a wreck.  But at the start line, Jenny got busy chatting up  fellow racers making friends like she always does just waiting for the 5k crowd to start their race.  The boys and I eventually made our way to the spectator area on the side and the count-down shortly began.  As the buzzer sounded Jenny started her jog toward the gate, to get warmed up, and then as soon as she crossed the arch off she went! We quickly lost sight of her in that sea of pink tutu clad runners.

The boys and I made our way a few blocks from the start to the halfway point to cheer on the 5k racers as they came by and wait for the half-marathon runners to make their way along the beach and golf courses, to the 7 mile marker which ran through a residential area.  

We got quite a few laughs from our signs that we held up, each custom made for our beautiful runner.  We really tried to put some serious thoughts into the signs, and I wish that I would have taken pics of the alternate signs that we made. 

Ian channeled his inner Arnold, and had a cute take on “Get to da choppa!”

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Alexander was unimpressed with the “parade”, he kept asking about the juggling clowns and the floats.

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And I offered valuable advice for those that may not have ever ran a race before.

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The amount of 5k’ers that laughed at us, took our pictures, and thanked us for standing there cheering them on and holding up signs was incredible.  There is a sense of feeling awesome when you get to just do something good for others, and I wasn’t aware how much that those who were running just 3 miles needed someone to cheer them on.  I often forget how many people consider that to be an accomplishment.

It didn’t seem like a long time before the leader of the Half-Marathon made their appearance at the mile 7 marker, in fact, she went on to win with a 91 min run time.  That breaks down to less than 7 mins per mile! The group that was hot on her heels were the ones that were using this as a qualifier for a bigger race, I mean these women were hauling ass!

About the 1:15.0 mark, Jenny came along (moving at a decent pace) and the smile she flashed to me and the boys made me realize that she was just absolutely thrilled to see us.  I could tell that there was a mental struggle going on, and just seeing us helped to solidify that her determination to finish was the attitude that won out. We waved as she chugged out of sight, and then the Page men took our signs and walked the distance to wait at the finish line for our amazing feminine warrior.  

Please allow me to insert a Public Service Announcement about race spectator activities :

   If you go to a race to cheer on EVERY runner!  I made sure that the boys and I clapped and got excited for every one of those women who made it to the end.  I let them know that they were just as special to someone as the person in front of them.  

At 2 hours and 42 minutes, our amazing mom/wife/princess crossed the finish line to the biggest cheers that our bodies could muster!  I even hopped the fence when I saw that she was needing to be supported by the local EMS crew. Draped in her feather boa and adorned with her tiara, I couldn’t be any more proud of her than I was at that moment.  We limped her to the medical area, where they put an ice pack on her ankle for a minute and let her stretch it out, and then she and I were off to the area for the after party. Now understand this is just a cooling down area, where you get your official time and the medal for completion.  And for those that drink, you can grab a beer, which they were serving a brand called 26.2 Brew. It didn’t taste half bad, Jenny doesn’t drink, and I enjoy a beer every so often, so I had hers.

We stayed around and talked to a few of the fellow racers who, when they heard Jenny’s story of her struggle with weight, surgery, and the triumphant comeback, they couldn’t help but feel amazed at this woman that chooses to share my life with me.

Back in the hotel Jenny made sure that she took a quick shower and then we were off to one of the most amazing burgers we have ever indulged in, and ended our vacation/field trip to Myrtle Beach.  And I can say this with full confidence, that Jenny has inspired more than just those that she talked to at the race, she inspired me. I am a runner, and have been for a bit, but I have started looking into training plans and will be signing up for a half-marathon in December as well as a full Marathon a few weeks after that.  

We love to run…that’s what we do.  It is a hobby that Jenny and I do together and helps us to feel closer and connected to each other.  We don’t judge each other, we don’t compare our times or distances, because as my friend Ryan Hoover (Fit to Fight, Charlotte NC) always says…”Everybody is fighting something.”

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Change comes from within

What did the Buddhist monk say to the Hotdog vendor?  Make me one with everything.

On Sunday, April 28th, I posted the last post, and sat down and was working on homework. Then it hit me, I was starting to panic. My college time is coming to an end, my Marine Corps career is coming to an end, my life is starting to move forward and I am coming up rapidly on 42 years old. I am more excited about this birthday than any other birthday. Yes, I am absolutely a fan of Douglas Adams great work, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Anyways, back to my panic and the feelings of helplessness.

To deal with this, I just put on my shorts and my Brooks running shoes, and took off at what felt like a blistering pace. I was at my first mile in 8:09, sometimes my average pace was approaching 6:50. I really felt like I was booking it down this path, my feet kicking up towards my ass as my legs turned over faster than they have in runs in about a year. My lungs felt like they were on fire, my heart rate was so high that I felt like I was about to have it burst through my chest, yet I pushed on. I made it to the 2 mile mark, and thought that mind was going to break. Emotions that I am not normally used to dealing with flooded my psyche. I had to quit and walk back. What happened? I don’t know. I felt overwhelmed. I needed time to sort myself out before I got home and had to face my beautiful wife.

On my walk back, I started to work through the reasons why I was feeling this way and I came to the conclusion that I was suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I have spent a good portion of my time comparing myself to other people. I see my “friends” on Facebook, being successful in the martial arts/firearms/self-defense industry and I know that I want to do that too, but I also know that it will be the hardest fight I will ever have to do just to get my name out there and develop my business. I was comparing myself to other people fitness wise, seeing men that are younger than me with a bigger passion for fitness than I have ever had and it was killing me that I feel like I was unattractive to my wife.

So my walk back, I deleted my Twitter app, my Instagram app, and I am thinking about getting rid of my Facebook app. I will keep my Facebook account, so that I stay in touch with family, but limiting my access and time I spend on the social media. I will keep my LinkedIn account active and current, because I still need a job and that platform is amazing.

But because of this, I was walking back and noticed a trail. A no shit, trail. Dirt. Running through the forest. I don’t think it goes very far…because on base is a limited area. I also arrived home and immediately opened up my laptop and found a race that I want to start training for in December. I have 8 months to train for an official marathon. The registration opens up on May 24th, and if I can secure a spot, I will be running the 3 Bridges Marathon race in Little Rock, Arkansas. I can’t believe how excited I am by this thought of finally committing to something, the idea that I now have a goal to start working toward. I know that it will be rough, but my thought is that if there is 100+ year old folks that run marathons, then why can’t I? Also, if I am going to pursue my dream of running ultras, then I need to get past the 26.2 mile distance.

I woke up this morning, with a sense of serious peace about me. I was relaxed for the first time in a long time, no mental fogginess. No anxiety. I was excited to see what the day held for me. I did get on Facebook for about an hour, but that was just to go through and clean out my profile. Making it strictly for family and friends connections, and a few news sources. I got rid of most of my political pages, companies that I have no interest in buying their products, and all the funny meme pages that I was convincing myself to find funny. It is amazing when you finally say “Enough is enough.” and you cut ties to what society tells you that you need to do and think.

As a veteran, I was always wondering what the other veterans were offended by or upset by and tried to support them, because that’s what a brotherhood does, but I could not do it any longer.

Back to the running part of this blog…

I am now excited to get out there and just run today. I don’t think I will track my course, mileage, heart rate, pace, or even listen to music. Today I am going to go out and tackle that trail that I found and just enjoy myself. Something that I have not done in a very long time. I am going to go run, just for the sake that I am a human being and I deserve to feel myself move and connect with nature.

For those of you that are concerned that I am becoming some hippy, no…I am the same conservative Christian that I have always been, but I am just embracing what it means in the Bible by “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39) Jesus was talking to the storm, sure. But he was also talking to the storm that was raging in the very hearts of his disciples. This is what I was going through. I was in a tizzy over life, and it took me reaching the storm’s apex to finally understand that Jesus was talking to me.

I do hope that in the midst of all this, you (my reader) find a sense of yourself. Get out, connect with the spiritual aspect you follow. Whichever that is. Go, run, play, feel yourself connecting with the world around you and remember that no matter who you are and what you are going through, it is only as bad as you think it is…inside your own head. Step out on faith and see that life is fairly calm.

Wow, this post got deeper than I wanted it to go. I am sorry that my emotions came out and if I got any of that on you, please forgive me. Now back to the funny shit that y’all came to read.

So, we are a little less than 1 week away from Jenny’s first Half-Marathon, and I have soooooo many plans for signs to hold up along the route. I do this to encourage her, and I have already told a lot of my friends what I want to do and everyone of them laugh at the ideas. I just hope that Jenny laughs at them as well, so that she forgets how bad it sucks to run 13 miles.

I don’t know who is more excited to get to the race, her or me! I mean, how many guys can say that they have a trophy wife that runs a lot and looks great doing it. I am now on the hunt for a cute set of running shorts for her that makes her feel awesome and still encourages me to run behind her. Because I am still a man and I like to look at her butt. It keeps me going, when I am not the runs with her, I do enjoy the scenery that I get watching her ass wiggle as she jams out to her tunes and even though she acts shocked, I know that she knows that I am openly admiring her “assets”. She often tells me to cut that out, but I have said it a thousand times, we are married, and EVERYONE knows what husbands are thinking about when it comes to their wives. I don’t care who you are, husbands think about their wives in the biblical sense…a lot.

I am going to leave this subject alone for now, because I can already feel her disappointing stare at me, as she reads this. I know that when I get home from work today, I am going to get a serious conversation about what I put on this blog. And then when she is done talking, I am going to calmly smile, nod my head, apologize, and then the next post will contain more talk just like that…because I never learn.

What’s Love got to do with it?

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FOR THE LOVE OF THE HOBBY

This running thing is harder than I ever thought possible and I often feel like I am starting over. The fact is, I really am and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done despite the fact that I used to run a lot! 4-10 miles a day along trails and then 13 miles on Saturdays, just for the sheer joy of being out on my own, listening to the music that often drives Jenny batshit crazy. But now here I am, struggling to make the 3 miles that I am required to do, due to Marine Corps standards. Plus the heat in North Carolina doesn’t help much. I guess that my next step is going to be to start running in the mornings…early.

So now that I am done crying about the struggles of being an old fat guy trying to relive his glory days, I want to move right into the meat of this blog.

People often talk to Jenny and I about the amount of running that we do currently or have done in the past. And when they do, they make statements like, “Oh my God, I wished I loved to run as much as you guys do.” Well, news flash for you, kids…NO ONE SAID WE LOVED TO RUN! Well, I like it, and that’s just because I am a masochist, but Jenny does not LOVE it. In fact, she has to force herself to lace up her shoes, and she has to force herself to put one step in front of the other to move her (cute) ass the distance that is on her training plan. This is why I say she is the greatest role-model that a young person could have, not the professional athlete, but the everyday moms and dads that do regular everyday things, and still find the dedication to perfect their hobbies without any money being offered to them to do it.

In fact, she and I were having this discussion the other day, we talked about how fitness is not a passion of ours, to tell the truth, tacos are actually a passion of ours, food from Okinawa is a passion of ours, sitting on our asses watching Netflix is a passion of ours, but fitness is the furthest thing from being a “passion”. Despite the fact that she is a certified Tae Bo instructor and at one time was a personal trainer, and I am an instructor in Kempo and a High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) level 1 instructor, we don’t like to do the sweating and grunting cardiovascular thing…well, at least not in the gym, if you know what I mean #wifecardio.

But you don’t always do things because you love them, initially. You do them because you know they are good for you and eventually you develop the love of the act. I didn’t like running to begin with, but I got introduced to it in the Army, and then the Marines took it to a whole new level. My first roommate in the Corps was a runner in high school, and he would often encourage me to go with him. Matt taught me a lot about proper technique, how to avoid expending energy pointlessly, and how to toughen the hardest part of your body to condition to running (your mind). However it wasn’t until much later that I found the passion for being alone in my thoughts as I plod along (I didn’t say I was fast) down a trail or along the road, just trying to get myself to forget the things that worry me. I don’t love running, but I love the feeling that running gives me. It helps me deal with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that I received from my time in country (don’t worry, I am stable and fully functioning. I just get nervous around crowds).

Jenny on the other hand, is a meticulous runner. She has to have a goal, a training plan, and the drive to see it through to the end. She is a true inspiration to me, as I am a procrastinator, in that she gets up with the desire to just get tasks accomplished for the day. Running and working out to her are like a check in the box, she gets them done because she has an end goal to reach (being a hot trophy wife), and there isn’t much that will get in her way that she will not walk over or through to get to that goal. I have never been so turned on, as when I see her with determination in her eyes and she sets out to prove that she can accomplish what most people say she cannot. For a 41 year old MILF, she won’t let anyone tell her that she cannot do what the young kids are doing. And I have a slight feeling of fear for our future grandkids, I foresee that she will wear them out with all the activities that she is going to do with them…but that is hopefully MUCH later in our future.

As I have said before in a previous post, we are runners not because we run fast or because we run far, but because we say that we are runners. The sport of running is unique in that it is the only activity that you can label yourself as a participant, and NO ONE can take that title away from you, for any reason. It doesn’t matter how far you run, if you run 1 mile on the weekends only or 100 mile races, you are a runner because you said it and that is what settles that. I have a lot of respect for the folks that get out there and run 5k races for local charities, because no matter what their time is on completion, they are lapping the folks still sitting on the couch.

If you are reading this, and thinking “Dude, I want to start running but I am in poor health.” or “I can’t run 5k’s! That’s 3 miles further than I have ever ran in my life!”, then I have the perfect app for you. I love using “Zombies, Run!”. You can sign up for a beginner 5k plan and it will start you off with easy to use workouts that will build you up to completing the 3.1 miles in no time. If you are thinking “Dude, no shit! I am WAAAY past your level.” Then congrats man, I am an old dude that broke his leg sliding down a rope from a helicopter and is having to make up for lost ability. If this is your case, then the book “Unbreakable Runner” has some great plans, they are not just straight running plans. They include Crossfit training that will help build the muscles needed for the endurance runs, if you are into the ultra-marathon distances and adventure racing.

TALES OF MY LAST RUN

So my last run, on Thursday 25 April, was 3 miles of hot, nasty, North Carolina misery. The elevation gain that I had was 15 feet, I know…not a lot, but when you are on the Eastern coast of the US, there really isn’t a lot of elevation to be gained. The trail I ran was the paved one that runs through base housing and it is shaded by a thick canopy that tends to throw off my FitBit Surge (GPS watch), but not by too much. Being that this is the third run that I did this week, I was not too upset by the 27:51 time (9:15/mile). I am not a huge fan of out and back runs, but I was running at lunch and didn’t really have time to do a larger looped run.

But I do have to admit that it was nice to have a running partner for at least a few feet, the squirrels that infest our neighborhoods often scamper across the trails as you shuffle by. And after the reports that we were getting last fall, I am always cautious about other furry trail runners that usually have bad attitudes, and pray that I don’t run into them…the black bear family that tends to wander in and out of the yards and up and down the paths. As much as I love getting to know my furry friends, I cannot say that I am in a rush to make acquaintances with this particular group. And because I am running on base, I am not able to carry my usual 9mm pistol. I know, as a firearms instructor, I know that a 9mm won’t do much against a bear, but it is better than nothing at all. And let us think back to the guy in Colorado that killed a mountain lion with his bare hands, so a small gun or even pepper spray is better than nothing at all.

But I feel that now I have rambled on for long enough, I will gladly pick up this train of thought on a future post.  Hopefully that will be within a week, if I can get my schedule to stop being so chaotic.  I will also work on trying to get Jenny to provide some insight into her thoughts on training, since she is the one that is actually following a no-shit plan.  I am just the guy that gets out there and runs for the sheer sake that I can.

Thanks for reading and I will see you guys out on the streets and trails!

Sorry, I was just resting my eyes, and didn’t realize I was going to sleep this long…

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It has been a little less than a year, and I have finally woken up from my LOOOOONG nap to write about our life once again.  What has happened since the last post?  Well, a lot.  I got back from deployment to the hottest little trophy wife any dude could ever hope for!  And the day after I got home, had the biggest kidney stone of my life.

In September, we survived the nightmare known as “Hurricane Florence”.  Aunt Flo left us a lot of nice little surprises, such as leaky roof, broken tree limbs, flooding, and mold!  Jenny has been working through her training plan despite suffering from a large amount of allergies.  And at Christmas we got hit by a 17 year old kid in a brand new Mustang, and we had to junk our car and ended up with a Subaru Outback.  Very much keeping in line with my image of a cool trail runner.

I (Ryan), have also been approved for retirement in June/July (Marine Corps is still trying to figure it out).  So between work, school, and raising two teenage boys, we also have to prepare to transition out of the Marine Corps.  But y’all don’t read this blog to keep up with our personal life (well, maybe some of you do) but to hear about running and how old people do it.

So, Jenny has worked her way through her training program to finally make it up to a 12 mile run and what an emotional time it was.  For a 41 year old hot chick, training to run her first half-marathon, I am so impressed with her.  She has stuck to a plan and pushed through the pain and struggle.  She will emerge from this whole thing as a beautiful Greek Goddess!  She is the toughest woman I know, and let’s be honest, she has to be tough to put up with my shit.  With about two weeks left until race time, she is starting to get nervous.  I just keep telling her that no one is expecting her to win the race, we will all be proud of her for just completing this monumental feat.

For myself, I have been out of training for a bit, but really got into the carnivore/keto lifestyle, so I have just recently begun running again.  I have also read through a couple of great books, “Unbreakable Runner” (T.J. Murphy and Brian Mackenzie) and “The Trail Runner’s Companion” (Sarah Lavender Smith).  I have also started reading Mrs. Smith’s blog “The Runner’s Trip” and listening to Ultrarunner Podcast.

Also, I would like to say that Jenny and I are full blown, sold out, lover’s of Brooks Running shoes. No, I am not being sponsored by them…yet.  But we finally got a pair each, and I have to say that they are the most comfortable shoes that I have worn, and I look forward to running a lot more miles in them.

Well, that is all that has really been happening, and I will really try to make this a more regular thing, and I might even figure out how to make a kick-ass Facebook page for the blog.

Until next time!   3….2….1…GO!!!!!!

I WANNA ROCK! But not too loud…or too long, because I have to be up early tomorrow…and what is it with kids and their hippity-hop music today?…

Yep, today we are going to go down the path of “playlists!”.  So in the words of Charlie Puth, “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on.”

Every runner, and human being on this planet, has a playlist.  That magical selection of music that inspires us to push harder, work longer, relax deeper, as well as a plethora of other activities that people want to do better.  In the case of heavy metal, is it get angry harder?  I don’t know…

 

So now, I’m sure by now, you are asking yourself, “Self, I wonder what Ryan has on his playlist for running?”  and “I wonder how many playlists Ryan actually has?”  The answer to the second question is “many”.  I have a running one, a lifting, a crossfit, a relaxing, a thinking about Jenny one, and a “THINKING” about Jenny one.

So in specific, my running one is by far the one that gets the most attention, it has to have the right amount of tempo that will keep my pace, with a little a little fluctuation for the different paces that I do run, depending upon whether it is a speed or endurance day.  So most of the heavy metal I have on my iPod is not allowed on, because I will just end up getting angry with myself and trying to head-bang on a treadmill is a bad idea…I almost knocked myself out when I hit the read-out screen and then I slipped on the belt that threw me into the machine behind me.  So instead I stick to more of the “pop” music that is out.

Some of my personal favorites include:

  1.  “Shame” by the Wu Tang Clan, but this version was on the Hard Rocks album and it was a team up with System of a Down.
  2. “Killing Strangers” by Marilyn Manson.  A tribute to my favorite movie, “John Wick”.  This song gets me on the right pace for an endurance run.
  3. “Killpop” by SlipKnot.  Because….I don’t know…it just sounds awesome.
  4. “Payphone” by Maroon 5…yeah…I have an insane amount of Maroon 5 on my iPod…don’t judge me.
  5. “Danger Zone”…yes, this Kenny Loggins classic used in the movie “Top Gun” makes me want to strip off my shirt, wear my dog tags, and play beach volleyball, while flying my F-14 Tomcat fighter plane through various maneuvers and wooing my flight instructor…Actually, this is a cover version, by a guy named Leo Moracchioli.  He does awesome metal covers of a LOT of songs…check him out on YouTube.
  6. “Lotion” by Greenskeeper.  just YouTube it, and thank me later.

 

There are so many more on my list, but these are some of my personal favorites.  I did happen to ask Jenny what her playlist consisted of, and her reply was, “How the hell should I know?”  I just put on Pandora and run.  Since I know her Pandora channel, I’m going to take a guess and tell you some of the things I think she listens to.

Lots of Taylor Swift (who doesn’t love T-Swift), Katie Perry (Jenny actually got to see her live in concert at a LuLaRoe event), some Brittney Spears, and a LOT of Meghan Trainor.  She still tries to remain connected to her youth by listening to the “latest” songs out there.

Now look, I have a secret crush on Meghan Trainor, really I do…I will listen to her debut album over and over, in fact when Jenny bought it on iTunes, I connected my phone and put it on my stuff…because you know…I’m all about that bass…’bout that bass…

THIS WEEK IN OUR LIVES!Jenny2

Now that we have covered my awkward music selection and my celebrity crush on MT (Jenny has a crush on The Rock and Chris Hemsworth…I don’t blame her).  Here is what has been happening in our world.

Jenny is up to 2.5 miles at a go!  This is an amazing distance for my beautiful wife, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  To go from not running to doing MOST of a 5k is a major accomplishment for just about anyone!  She is on track to keep building up to her 13.1 mile distance in a year, because well…she has already paid the money, so she is going to run that race or I will put on a dress and run it myself.  And trust me, if you haven’t seen me in a dress (or skirt) you are missing out…I’m a sexy beast!   No seriously, Jenny has pictures of me with a Carly dress over my jeans and t-shirt because I was trying to sell dresses that day.

She has even taken to dragging our boys to the gym to do a few laps on the indoor track.  Which is great, because my boys are typical teens on summer vacation.  Sleep late, play video games, and eat all the food in the house.  The oldest says he is up to 2 miles, but I know that he is capable of running faster and further…he is just being a stubborn butt-head (he gets it from his mom).

Jenny is also so excited that she has lost a LOT of the weight that was caused by her health issue, that she got to buy new capri pants!  Which is significant because she told the oldest to take pics so she could share them with her LuLaRoe VIP group.  He laughed when she asked for a picture of her butt, and he said “I’d better not get into trouble with dad.”  Her reply, “I don’t think dad will be upset at getting to see a picture of my butt.”  And I’m not.

My life on ship remains the same, I am running and working out.  While still trying to keep my Marines from doing stupid shit.  It is the part of the deployment where all the fun things have been done, and now everyone is just settling into the “Can we go home yet?” phase.  Everyday the commander replies with “If you don’t start behaving, I’m going to turn this deployment around and so help me!”  Ok, maybe it isn’t that bad…but it is the last part of the deployment that is the most boring and we are trying our best to stay sharp on our training, and not murder each other because we are all packed on this ship like sardines.

I did set a goal and beat it in the same week.  I started trying to see if I could get my 5k run time down to less than 24 mins.  and today I completed it in 23:08.  Not bad for an old guy who broke his leg about 9 months ago and has been trying not to let everyone of these young kids know how bad it hurts to live.

Also, my total amount of books I have read is up to 20.  Yes, there are some smaller books in there (I LOVE Louis L’Amour) but I have a lot of bigger, meaty books.  Some of my favorites that I have finished are “Running Man”, “Natural Born Heroes”, “Why We Get Fat”, and “Passionate Marriage”.  I do love psychological books that encourage the reader to challenge what they have been taught to believe.  I encourage everyone to take time to really dig into a good book that will cause growth in your personal life.

Well, that’s about all I got on this one.  I’m pretty worn out by my week, and I have used up a lot of my wit and sarcasm to insult the guys I live with.  Everyday in my berthing is like waking up to a high school full of jocks.  We burp, fart, scratch, and insult each other all day, while trying to memorize all the lines to “Deadpool 2”.  Which, if you haven’t seen it…stop, take a knee, and punch yourself in the face…then watch the damn movie…I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

I guess I’ll leave you all with the words of a great philosopher…
“Love, the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket.
Like the lost catacombs of Egypt, only God knows where we stuck it.”

-Bloodhound Gang, “The Bad Touch”

Running on old man strength

Well, well, well… You’ve returned for post number 3 of our crazy life, have you? Aren’t you just the glutton for punishment!

Then let me fill you in on some of my past week. I started running again, made 5k in 25:47 and learned that after my injury I am no longer suited to do “natural” or “barefoot” style running. Which is a huge bummer for me, because I actually enjoyed the feeling of running without shoes or at least with minimalist shoes. So I have to go back to traditional running style (heel to toe), and I can log in lots of miles without injury that way.

I signed up for a 77.4 mile virtual race. While it doesn’t need to be run all in one shot, I am doing my best to keep it at a minimal amount of broken up runs. But with the treadmill keeping me at 1 hour, I am doing my best to get 4-5 miles in a shot. Yes, I am restricted to running on the treadmills while on ship, because where else am I supposed to run?

I have also finished reading an amazing book called “Running Man” by Charlie Engle. This book was so amazing that I reached out to the author and he messaged me back and said that whenever I get back to North Carolina, to give him a buzz and he wanted me to come up and enjoy a run and some lunch with him. Why is this so amazing? He was the first man to run across the Sahara Desert. He did it in 111 days. He is also a professional ultra-marathon runner and motivational speaker.

If you are looking for a great book (not just about running, but overcoming adversity) then I highly recommend this book and one other that I just finished called, “Natural Born Heroes”. I am becoming more and more fascinated with the connection between the brain and the body. I want to know how we can unlock the unlimited potential that God put inside each of us, and do the amazing things that our ancestors used to do.

Some other great things that have occured, I finished the professional course that I was required to go to, with a 90% GPA, and I am almost finished with my current college class. I also got passed for promotion (again), I’m not upset by it, because I know that it was my fault. And since I have completed that course, I know that I will be set for next year.

Jenny8

Jenny and I have reached 17 years of knowing each other.  On June 9th, it was the 17 year mark of our first date, silly that a man remembers that? Not to me, she took me to my first professional baseball game, her work gave her tickets, and she chose to do dinner and a game with me. And we have been best friends ever since. I am so glad that I married her.

She told me that she has been increasing her running, and despite the injury, started running 2 miles in one shot. What injury? She stubbed her toe. That can be more painful than anything you can ever imagine, but her training for the half-marathon continues! She is really killing this training thing.   I have never seen her take anything this serious. It’s almost as serious as her LuLaRoe sales.

jenny toe

I’m so glad to see the progress that she has made since I have been gone. If you remember, my first post mentioned that she had some health issues. Ever since she got those taken care of, her body has been adapting really quickly to her new diet (almost Ketogenic) and she looks AMAZING!!! I am so proud of her, and cannot wait until I get home. Yep, we’re married, so you can imagine what I am thinking about…if you don’t know because you are under 16 and found this blog…then go ask your parents. (Dear moms and dads…enjoy!)

Our boys have both taken up running again, they are encouraged by the use of Yes.fit virtual races. These are the races that Jenny and I used to sign up for that got us into running over  3 years ago. We signed up for our Harry Potter races, through the Hogwart’s Running Club. While I have fallen out of favor with them recently (I tend to rub people the wrong way) they are still doing a great job contributing to charities, and helping in the local communities wherever members can be found.

I have personally signed up for the “Way of the Warrior” race, just because I have a fascination with Samurai and all things that relate to Bushido. I have studied martial arts for over 20 years, and encourage everyone that I come into contact with to give studying karate or kung-fu a chance. Lots of fun, great exercise, and you learn a valuable life skill that may someday save your life.

As far as my ketogenic lifestyle is going, it is hard to keep up with it on ship. Everything here is either breaded and deep fried or covered with a sauce because the actual food is so bad it can’t be eaten. Well, that and the Department of Defense still listens to health advice from the 1980’s. They treat us as if every day we are having to run a marathon and giving us nothing but carbs to fuel up on, and then they wonder why there is an obesity problem among the ranks!   I have talked to so many people on ship about their eating habits and they always ask me how I do it. Lots of willpower, and just deciding that being healthy is worth giving up cake, cookies, ice cream, sodas, and chips. As well as potatoes, rice, and pasta.

Does this mean that I have cut them out 100%? I am sad to say, no. I do enjoy a cookie every now and again, but not with every meal! (yes, I see people grab a slice of cake with lunch AND dinner…every day). And sure, on Saturday nights, when they serve Pizza and wings, I grab a slice of pizza at least once a month. But I don’t go carb crazy. In fact, I am blessed to have a friend on ship that is the same way, and we call them “Non-judgmental meals”, where neither of us promise to judge the other on anything that is put in the body. But after that meal, we start judging each other. It keeps us honest, and it is really more of a joke to us, because eating all the meat, cheese, butter, eggs, and veggies that we want is NOT a punishment. Plus, I make a great cup of Bulletproof coffee or “Fat Coffee”.

FAT COFFEE
Add 1 tbsp. of grass-fed (full fat) butter, 1 tbsp. of extra-virgin coconut oil, 1 pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt, and a dash of cinnamon to your cup of coffee.

The fat that is in the butter and coconut oil bonds to the caffeine, and acts as time release energy. Also, the fat will make you feel fuller, and will help keep hunger pangs away. But most importantly, it’s just freaking delicious!

 

I am also encouraged by reading the exploits of ketogenic ultra-marathon runners, knowing that they are running over 100 miles and never needing to put pasta or sugar laden drinks in their bodies to produce optimum output.

If you are looking for more information on this subject, I recommend the books “Keto Clarity” (Jimmy Moore), “Why We Get Fat, and what to do about it” (Gary Taubes), and “Wheat Belly” (Dr. William Davis).   As well as the podcasts “KetoTalk” and “Livin’ La Vida Low Carb”, both are found in iPodcast on Apple.

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